Volume 62 Number 56 
      Produced: Thu, 08 Oct 15 12:46:54 -0400

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

Calling police on the Shabbat 
    [Immanuel Burton]
    [Joel Rich]
Machnisei rachamim 
    [Martin Stern]
Relative priorities 
    [Alan Rubin]
Strange Baladi custom (2)
    [Dov Bloom  Martin Stern]
The Jewish Experience 
    [Joel Rich]


From: Immanuel Burton <iburton@...>
Date: Tue, Sep 22,2015 at 12:01 PM
Subject: Calling police on the Shabbat

Bill Bernstein (MJ 62#55) wrote:

> IN response to Yisrael Medad's question (MJ 62#54) about a man attacked by
> anti-semitic thugs on Shabbat and subject to threats of physical violence:
> If the threats were immediate, personal, and credible (i.e. the attackers had
> ability, opportunity and demonstrated intent of inflicting death or severe
> bodily harm) he should in no way have called the police. Instead he should 
> have produced his carry pistol and shot the miscreants on the spot. Police 
> would have come shortly on their own anyway. But I realize we're talking 
> about London where they frown on that sort of thing.

In what way does this sort of flippancy address the question that was asked? 
How does it fit into the framework of the Mail.Jewish group?

Whereas the UK has tighter gun control than the US, the UK's laws do allow for
reasonable force in self-defence, and, if one happens to have a gun licence (or
one seized control of the assailant's gun) and shooting an assailant would be
reasonable force under those particular circumstances, one could do so.  Of
course, working out what considers reasonable force is another question.

I have a vague recollection of a ruling being issued in the wake of burglaries
on Friday evenings in Stamford Hill (where the Chassidic community in London is
largely based) saying that as miscreants knew that Jews would not call the
police on Shabbos and so would break into Jewish homes without fear, it was 
permitted to call the police on Shabbos in the event of a break-in (even without
fear for personal safety) so that the problems wouldn't multiply.  Do any
UK-based members of Mail.Jewish remember anything like this?

Immanuel Burton.


From: Joel Rich <JRich@...>
Date: Sun, Sep 20,2015 at 01:01 PM
Subject: Intoxication

I have a related question regarding Talmudic wine. 

I was always taught that the wine in the time of the Talmud was thicker (meaning
it had a higher alcoholic content) than today's wines and thus needed to be
diluted. However I have since learned that natural wine has a maximum of 12%
alcohol content.

What is the explanation?

Joel Rich


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Mon, Sep 21,2015 at 12:01 PM
Subject: Machnisei rachamim

There have been many objections to the passage "Machnisei rachamim" (which occurs 
towards the end of the selichot) because it would appear possibly to involve
praying to angels. 

An idea occurred to me this year that might mitigate this, resulting from
the speed at which the selichot tend to be rattled off. I find that I cannot
possibly say each one in the allotted time and usually have to break off
less than halfway through in order to join the tzibbur [congregation] for
saying the "Keil Melekh" that follows.

There are also, in some of the selichot, some words that are tongue twisters
which I fear may get mispronounced if read at speed. Perhaps we are asking
the "Machnisei rachamim" [angels whom we ask to present our requests] to
"check over" what we have said and correct any words that we might have
inadvertently mispronounced or phrasing that may have been incorrect. This
might therefore not involve praying to them per se and might get round the
objections raised to this ancient composition.

What do other mail-jewish members think of this as a possible resolution of
this theological dilemma?

Martin Stern


From: Alan Rubin <alan@...>
Date: Mon, Sep 21,2015 at 03:01 PM
Subject: Relative priorities

Joel Rich asked (MJ 62#55):

> Alan Rubin wrote (MJ 62354):
>> Joel Rich asked (MJ 62#53):
>>> A yahrtzeit shiur is "being sponsored" at the same time as your regular
>>> learning seder. How should one evaluate the various 'score cards' in
>>> shamayim (yours, the niftar's, your chavrutah's)
>> To be honest I don't quite get the mentality that tots up score cards in
>> shamayim. It is an approach that I can't relate to. 
> It would be more helpful if Alan could suggest an alternative approach to use
> when trying to mediate relative priorities?

Might I suggest one should use common sense.

Since I am sure that the calculus of these 'score cards' is either unknowable or
non-existent, I suggest you use common sense and fall back on the simple golden
rule governing your relationship with your chavrusah. Or the well established
notion of the importance of fixed times for learning rather than the more
speculative notion that the deceased may somehow benefit from the shiur.


PS. This idea of score cards puts me in mind of those people who would prefer to
see non-Orthodox people marry non-Jews because, according to their 'score-card',
violating the laws of ritual purity is worse than marrying out.


From: Dov Bloom <dovbbb@...>
Date: Sun, Sep 20,2015 at 04:01 PM
Subject: Strange Baladi custom

Jack Gross wrote (MJ 62#55):
> Yaacov Fenster wrote (MJ 62#54):
>> Rabbi Meir Wise wrote (MJ 62#53):
>>> Can anyone explain why the Baladi Yemenites always read Chukkat and Balak
>>> together?
>> There are really two interesting customs as to what to do instead of 
>> combining Matot/Masai (but only in those years where they are typically combined), one
>> of the Baladi and one of the Dardarim. 
>> ...
>> The Dardarim split up Chukkat so that we do not read about the deaths of two
>> righteous people (Aharon & Miriam) in the same week. The first half is 
>> combined with the preceding Korach and the second half is combined with the 
>> succeeding Balak.
> The practice of "Dardarim" that you describe is also the practice listed in
> Siddur Rav Saadia Gaon

In addition to following R Saadia Gaon in the parsha reading of
Korach-Hukat-Balak mentioned,  the Dardaiim have an affinity in other areas
for the traditions and practices of the Geonim,  especially Rav Saadia.
They highly prize his views and writing against the belief in reincarnation
(gilgul neshamot).

Dov Bloom

From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Tue, Sep 22,2015 at 08:01 AM
Subject: Strange Baladi custom

Jack Gross wrote (MJ 62#55):

> The practice of "Dardarim" that you describe is also the practice listed in
> Siddur Rav Saadia Gaon

Please excuse my ignorance, but who are the "Dardarim"?

Martin Stern


From: Joel Rich <JRich@...>
Date: Sun, Sep 20,2015 at 04:01 PM
Subject: The Jewish Experience

Rabbi JB Soloveitchik wrote  (Derashot Harav, pp. 116-117):

> Historically, Jews have fared poorly when subjected to the trial of wealth.
> When a Jew acquires excessive wealth, he becomes animal like. While the nations
> of the world divert a portion of their wealth towards spiritual matters,
> towards culture, towards higher ideals, under similar circumstances, the Jew
> takes on the trappings of a vulgar, cynical materialism. And Jeshurun became
> fat and rebelled (Deut. 32:15) is the characteristic reaction of the Jew to
> wealth. For some unknown reason a Jew cannot combine the dew of the heavens
> with the fatness of the earth (Gen. 27:28). Having one, he cannot have the
> other.
> On the other hand, when confronted with the trial of poverty or suffering, the
> Jewish people have fared very well. A Jew does not spill blood when he is
> hungry. When he is hungry, he senses the hunger of his fellow; when he is cold,
> he feels his brother's discomfort.

Question. How do other mail-jewish members think this applies to the American
Orthodox experience? If the reaction to the different extremes differs, why?

Joel Rich


End of Volume 62 Issue 56